Mark Terry

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Evaluation 2011, Part 2

December 29, 2011

So yesterday I talked about my goals and resolutions for 2011 and how I did. Today I wanted to look back over the year and bring up some things that occurred that I didn’t expect, not all of them writing-related.

Teaching Karate.
In November of 2010 both my oldest son, Ian, and I, received our black belts (shodan, i.e., first degree) in Sanchin-Ryu karate. Typically before they let you teach a class you undergo a year (or so) of apprenticeship with a higher-ranking sensei or master. For reasons still not completely clear to me, Ian and I were given a class to teach in the spring of 2011. (Ian continues to apprentice with a 6th-degree master.) During the summer it became a combined class at a different location, and this fall continued back at our original location. Teaching karate has been both a joy and a pain in the ass, often simultaneously, and I’ve found it to be a very enriching and educational experience. I suspect I learn more than my students do.

Published Some Books.
Yes, I organized, edited and published a collection of short stories, DEADLY BY THE DOZEN. An interesting experience that I enjoyed, for the most part, although from a financial point of view it’s been something of a mess. Still, I enjoyed working with the writers. I also self-pubbed FREELANCE WRITING FOR A LIVING, which also has sold almost no copies, and THE FORTRESS OF DIAMONDS, which also has sold almost no copies. Hmmm. Well, as I’ve figured out, it’s good just to have them out there and you never know, they may make money someday. I don’t regret writing or publishing them.

Friends convinced us to take part in a bowling league. Neither Leanne nor I are particularly good bowlers. The league we’re in has been described as a “drinking league with a bowling problem,” which seems to me to be a completely accurate description. So every other Saturday night we bowl. And drink. And often go out and eat and drink afterwards. I’m still a crappy bowler, but I’m having fun and meeting a lot of new people in town, which I believe is primarily the point. Now, if the scoring in bowling was only more like golf – low score wins, right?

Exercise Obsession.
I’ve been exercising a lot the last five or six years. It seems to have solidified into the things I most prefer to do: weight lifting, biking, running, karate. That's probably one more activity than I really need, but life's short and I enjoy and benefit from all of them for different reasons. I also walk the dog a lot and kayak in season. I lift 2 or 3 days a week, bike 3 or 4 days a week, run 3 days a week, teach karate one day a week, typically visit another class one day a week, and do my own personal karate workouts a couple days a week. It’s a mood enhancer, if nothing else. I could give up running if the right motivation to do so came along, but I persist for reasons that I don’t completely understand. I do think I’d be a far better Sanchinka if I spent more time on it, but it’s also a constantly receding horizon, because the more karate I do the more I seem to have to learn. Hence, martial "art," I suppose.

Did some article ghostwriting.
I mentioned this before, but I worked as an article ghostwriter/collaborator with a physician and a health information technology consultant this year. I don’t know how much more of it I will do, but it gave me some entrée into some publications I hadn’t been able to break into alone, so it was worthwhile. And collaborating can be an interesting thing to do. On the other hand, it makes you dependent upon someone else who has different priorities than you do and that annoyed the hell out of me. So if the right opportunities come along, great; if not, well, that’s okay.

Wrote White Papers.
I’d done a tiny bit of this before, but this year I did a lot and expect/plan to do more in the future. It’s rather like making a living writing college research papers, but it’s lucrative and interesting and I’m good at it.

New York City.
Spent 4 or 5 days on a trip to New York City with the high school marching band. I blogged about this. We did more in 4 or 5 days than many New Yorkers do in their lifetimes, it seems, and it was a really wonderful trip. Now I look forward to returning to NYC without a herd of teenagers and being able to wander the Met without a time limit or touring The Intrepid or tons of other things.

So, overall, a pretty good year. 


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Sounds like you have a great balance there, intellectual, physical, work stuff, fun stuff, stuff to pay the bills now, stuff that might pay bills in the future. Sorry Diamonds hasn't caught any attention though. It's a good book. Which I guess shows what a crap shoot it is. I'll bet you couldn't have done all these things if you were still tied to a regular job.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Well, Eric, it's my life and I enjoy it, for the most part. Yeah, good mix most of the time.

11:24 AM  

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